Expert Opinion

Green & Sustainable IT – Two Tools to Gain Economic & Environmental ROI

A few decades ago, sustainability meant an extravagant investment with no returns. But the advancement of technology in sustainability and IT verticals meant the chance for the amalgamation of tools from both verticals. This has led to companies investing more in the emergence of Green IT and achieving sustainability. Green computing, also known as green IT or sustainable computing, refers to the practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computer systems and technologies in an environmentally friendly manner. It involves reducing the environmental impact of computing operations, minimizing energy consumption, and promoting resource efficiency throughout the entire lifecycle of computing equipment. This results in achieving sustainability, as it is a critical aspect of the operations and practices of IT companies.
In 1993, 12% of companies included sustainability as part of their operations and now the number has grown to 80%. Through a combination of regulations, incentives and awareness programs, India is striving to build a more sustainable and eco-friendly computing ecosystem. The reflection of the company’s efforts can be seen in the increase in the ESG funds, which have increased to $330 billion in 2021. The ICT sector alone has been responsible for GHG emissions ranging between 1.8% and 3.9%, while data centers account for 3% of annual total energy consumption which is a 100% increase in the last decade. By going green, tech companies can play a significant role in correcting the effects of climate change using their resources and platform.
Here are some key aspects of green computing in India:
  • Energy Efficiency: One of the primary focuses of green computing is energy efficiency. The Indian government, along with industry bodies and organizations, encourages the adoption of energy-efficient hardware and software technologies.
  • Renewable Energy: There is an increasing emphasis on utilizing renewable energy sources to power data centers and IT infrastructure. The government has also launched schemes and incentives to encourage the use of renewable energy in the IT sector.
  • E-Waste Management: India generates a large amount of e-waste due to the sector’s rapid growth. The government has implemented the E-Waste Management and Handling Rules to address this issue.
  • Virtualization and Cloud Computing: Virtualization and cloud computing technologies play a crucial role in green computing. By consolidating multiple physical servers into virtual machines or utilizing cloud infrastructure, companies can optimize resource utilization and reduce energy consumption. Many organizations in India are adopting virtualization and cloud computing to minimize their hardware footprint and improve energy efficiency.
Apart from the above-listed aspects, IT companies are focusing on sustainability via Green Data Centers, Sustainable Supply Chains, Product Lifecycle and Design, Remote Work and Telecommuting, Data Privacy and Security and Sustainable Innovation.
As businesses need ROI for their investment too, Sustainability and Green IT in businesses can provide various economic benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:
  • Cost savings: Implementing sustainable practices can lead to significant cost savings for IT companies. By optimizing energy consumption, improving resource efficiency, and minimizing waste, companies can reduce operational expenses.
  • Increased efficiency and productivity: Sustainability initiatives often involve streamlining processes and optimizing resource allocation. This can lead to increased operational efficiency and productivity. Sustainable practices also encourage innovation and creativity among employees, leading to new ideas and solutions that can drive business growth.
  • Enhanced brand reputation and customer loyalty: Consumers are increasingly conscious of environmental and social issues. By embracing sustainability, IT companies can improve their brand reputation and gain a competitive edge. Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability can attract environmentally conscious customers and investors. It can also foster customer loyalty and attract employees who are passionate about sustainability, thereby reducing recruitment and training costs.
  • Regulatory compliance and risk management: Many countries have implemented regulations and policies to address environmental concerns and promote sustainable practices. By proactively adopting sustainability measures, IT companies can ensure compliance with these regulations, avoiding potential penalties or legal issues.
  • Access to new markets and opportunities: Sustainability is increasingly becoming a criterion for market access and business partnerships. By embracing sustainable practices, IT companies can gain access to new markets and opportunities that prioritize environmental and social responsibility. They can participate in green technology initiatives, renewable energy projects, and government contracts focused on sustainability. This can open up new revenue streams and expand the company’s market presence.
  • Long-term cost resilience: Sustainability practices often involve long-term thinking and planning. By adopting renewable energy sources, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and embracing circular economy principles, IT companies can enhance their resilience to future cost fluctuations and market uncertainties. Investing in sustainable technologies and infrastructure can provide long-term cost savings and reduce exposure to price volatility associated with non-renewable resources.
Overall, integrating sustainability into the core operations of IT companies can yield significant economic benefits, ranging from cost savings and increased efficiency to improved brand reputation and access to new markets. By aligning environmental and social responsibility with business strategies, IT companies can create a more sustainable and resilient future while simultaneously driving economic growth.
(The author is Mr. Vikas Bhonsle, CEO, Crayon Software Experts India and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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